August 13, 2018
"A hundred years after you die, men will walk on the moon but few will walk in this country. Your failure will in time become a national treasure because it will remain silent and free and wild. No one will ever know exactly what to do with it. And then the day will slowly dawn when increasing numbers of people realize that nothing, nothing at all, is precisely what should be done with it."
-Charles Bowden, on the Mormon pioneers of the Hole-in-the-Rock expedition
Once upon a time, the Hayduke existed entirely on public land, vast swaths of it protected under federal monument status. Though that land is, for the time being, still public, it is now threatened.
Those 800 miles of the Hayduke Route—800 miles of beautiful, largely untouched land, land ripe with petroglyphs, dinosaur bones, and ancient ruins, 800 miles that descends into and winds through exquisite canyons, past hanging gardens and springs—those 800 miles of Hayduke are no longer fully protected.
Two million acres were recently removed from monument status and protection in Southern Utah. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument was cut nearly in half; Bears Ears was slashed by a whopping 85%. A number of slot canyons, unique geological formations, ancient petroglyphs, and sacred Native American sites have been removed from these protections and are now under threat. Looting can go unchecked; resource extraction can do irreparable harm.
Trump, Zinke, & Friends knew what they were doing when they removed these protections; their plans include opening up these areas to mining, drilling, paving roads. Check out the Resources list below to learn what's at stake.
In case you missed it: Excellent map of the boundary reductions, with layers showing the locations of coal, oil, and gas deposits
National Geographic article on the dinosaur fossils found in a now-unprotected parcel of Southern Utah
Excellent map of the potential loss of and damage to wildlife, cultural artifacts, rare species, and waterways